By Darryl Alder
Apr 12, 2014

Real Growth—Peer-to-Peer Recruitment Campaign

scouting_welcome_bannerThe 2014 Real Growth through Scouting Peer to Peer Recruitment Campaign is a fun and easy way for Scouts to invite their friends to join in the adventure and to start enjoying the great outdoors together.

There are many simple activities that districts or units can run to encourage new families to join, but camp-MaKaJaWannothing beats a friend asking a friend to go camping—if you are a Cub Scout that means Jeremiah Johnson Cub Scout Day Camp. Boy Scouts can take their friends to one of six Camps and Varsity Scouts/Venturers can choose from  High Adventure Programs throughout the council.  Every one of these summer events will lure in new members and studies show, if they go to camp in the first six weeks after joining, they will stay active in your unit.

Through extensive research, the BSA has determined peer to peer recruitment (youth speaking to youth) is the most effective way to enroll members into a Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout team or Venturing crew. For Cub Scouts, this is often also parent-to-parent.

Mark R. Francis, Director of LDS–BSA Relationships, writes: “… in 1913, one reason the general leaders of the young men first recommended that the Church participate with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was because of ‘the missionary work of our boys associating with their fellows.’1 The spirit of brotherhood and inviting others to join with our Scout troops continues today as young men of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards [are] welcomed warmly and encouraged to participate in youth activities.”2

LDS Young Men general president David L. Beck calls this work “real growth through Scouting. When young men of other faiths join Church-sponsored Scout troops, two things happen:

Friends on the Eagle Trail

Friends on the Eagle Trail

1) Latter-day Saint Scouts have an opportunity to share the gospel through their testimonies and actions and prepare for their full-time missions by inviting others ‘to come unto Christ’ (D&C 20:59), which is one of your Aaronic Priesthood duties; and (2) Scouts of other faiths then have an opportunity to participate in Scouting activities under the direction of priesthood leadership.”

As an example,  Gary Faletti from Arlington TX told me about his own experience having to go it alone as a Scout, without any parental support. When his son become of age, he wanted wanted to join Scouting, but the closest unit was an LDS ward (they are not LDS). After visiting with the Bishop, Gary asked to serve on the committee and his son started a six year climb toward Eagle. Last March.  Gary proudly showed me a picture of the Eagle plaque with his son’s name on it in the LDS ward house where the troop met, neither he nor his son joined the LDS Church, but his son got Scouting’s highest rank and Gary got to support his son in Scouting through a church sponsored troop.

Plan a full year of adventure to lure in new members
Plan a full year of adventure to lure in new members

Nearly every unit in our Council could reach out to at least one boy who is not currently in Scouts. To begin, you should plan with your Unit Membership Chair who can work with your sponsoring organization to make plans to get pass along cards and other promotional materials ready. Then help rally the whole organization around inviting others to join with you in Scouting, in ways like this:

  • Encourage your Scouts to talk about your Scouting activities with their friends, classmates, and neighbors.
  • When working on particular merit badge or outdoor adventure skill, ask your youth to share their excitement with their friends to see they might be interested in learning about that topic with your group.
  • Help plan quality activities so that other youth will want to attend. Have a calendar of upcoming activities to share.
  • Invite other young men to attend unit meetings, activities, and courts of honor with you.
  • Look for ways to expand your Scouting activities to include others.
  • Use Scouting as a tool to involve less-active young men in your area who may not be interested in attending Sunday meetings.


formPeer to peer has been proven successful, but will only have wide spread impact if you go out and use it to its full potential.

Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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2 thoughts on “Real Growth—Peer-to-Peer Recruitment Campaign

  1. AvatarBen Summerhalder

    For Cub Scouts, any derby – Pinewood, Space or Raingutter Regatta – is a great activity to get boys interested in joining. The Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program is also a good way to get boys involved since it offers so many different activities for Cub Scout-age boys. The STEM Nova program is another way to engage the interest of boys.

  2. Susan CheeverSusan Cheever

    A lot of our districts have a Cub Sports day that they may or may not call a Mini Olympics. Those are great to bring a friend to and invite parents to come spectate.


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